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Turkey take in custody 26 generals, including ex-air chief, over coup

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ANKARA: A Turkish court has remanded in custody 26 senior generals on charges of playing a role in the failed coup aimed at toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media said on Tuesday.

The 26 placed under arrest by the Ankara court include former Turkish air force chief General Akin Ozturk, who some Turkish media have painted as the mastermind of the plot although he has denied this accusation.

They were all remanded in custody after a hearing that ended late Monday, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The generals have now been sent to prison ahead of their trials, a date for which has not been sent.

They have been charged with crimes including seeking to overturn the constitutional order, leading an armed group and seeking to assassinate the president.

In his statement to prosecutors, Akin denied that he had been the ringleader of the coup.

“I am not the person who planned or led the coup. Who planned it and directed it I do not know,” Anadolu quoted him as saying.

Turkey’s treatment of the coup suspects has alarmed its allies, with EU and US leaders urging Ankara to respect the rule of law.

Anadolu published images of Ozturk and other suspects on the stairs inside the Ankara court house, staring blankly into the camera with their hands tied behind their backs.

Ozturk has looked tired and haggard in images published by state media, with one of his ears heavily bandaged.

Turkey has blamed Friday’s coup bid on supporters within the military of Erdogan’s arch enemy, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

It has so far detained at least 113 generals and admirals nationwide suspected of involvement in the plot, Anadolu said, in what appears to be a major purge of the armed forces.

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